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Posts tagged ‘bela lugosi is dead’

So much… 21 May 2011

Photo credit: David J

Don’t really know where to start… so much has happened, so much is going on, and I realise it’s time I mentioned a few things in passing. Like, I’m making an album. The E.P. that I started recording at Kerry Brown‘s Coldwater Studios a few months ago is growing in scope, backwards and forwards in time. It’s currently a dozen songs of love, loss, heartache and delight, laden with thick butterings of strings captured on luscious 2″ tape engineered by Kevin Dippold on the vintage tape machine that recorded Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. You can learn more on the new album blog.

Oh, and I’m playing live with the Woolly Bandits, Damien Youth and Michael Berg, including a show with the Woolly Bandits tonight at On The Rox, upstairs from the Roxy on Sunset Strip. Strings, back-up vocals and my legendary tambourine shakin’, yeah!

David J‘s album is practically done and ready to roll, and it’s amazing. His voice sounds as perfect as piping hot PG Tips with exactly the right quantity of milk, sugar and whiskey…

Last week we shot the video for David’s new version of Love & Rocket‘s “I’ll Be Your Chauffeur”. It’s being produced by David J with programming and loops by Rob Garza from Thievery Corporation, and features an amazing young vocalist David discovered in the Bay Area, a pitch-perfect 17 year old named McKenna.

Which brings me to Bela. Don’t know what to say about this, but the short version is, last week David J, Jill Tracy and I revisited Bela Lugosi Is Dead in a studio adjacent to Oakland Cemetery, and it was an unforgettable, super magic night. The spirits were close, summoning the spectre of Lord Byron.

One detail I can reveal to you exclusively, strings-lovers…

You may know I like to play hard. I often play so hard that my bow hair shreds. Most violinists get their bows rehaired every year or so. Well, sometimes I get through a bow in one show. Indeed, I’ve been known to wreck a bow in one song. And at a few memorable shows, I’ve also broken a string.

Well, on Bela night, I got through a bow. And then, I got through another bow. And kept playing, kept playing, kept playing. A string broke. Whatever, more playing, other strings… Then another string…. SNAP! Aaagh, still more music needing to be played, more music being channeled from who knows where, more sounds and scrapes and scratches coming through from the ether.

SNAP!!! and SNAP!!!!!! NO STRINGS LEFT!!!!!

And still more to play… pulling at the undead strings, pulling them tight to get a sick creaking aching sound out of them, resonant with the spirit of Bela and Byron and whatever else was coming through the tortured body of that poor violin.

I scraped the fingerboard, hit the headstock, scratched the strings and bowed the belly of that undead beast. And had probably the most fun possible with one’s clothing intact.

To be continued…